When is the earliest time for a kid to see a dentist? 

A child should have dental exam as early as possible.  A baby may have one or two baby teeth when he or she is just born.  It can interfere with breast feeding.  It makes sense to see a dentist when the kid has baby teeth normally.  The dentist may show parents how to take care of the baby teeth: for example, brushing.  Besides, how to feed the baby can also have great impact whether the baby is going to have cavities. 

The biggest problem is that most of small children do not like strangers, particularly doctors in white or weird uniform.  They might cry.  It must be harder for them to sit in a dental chair.

Sometimes it is not true.  Two days before Thanksgiving, a mom and a 2-year-old boy came to our office for exam and cleaning.  Came with them is a 6-year-old sister.  That latter has visited our office for several years.  She gradually becomes a good little patient.  While our hygienist was taking care of the mom in one treatment room, we brought the boy to another treatment room.  Surprisingly, he was not afraid of the strangest person in the world.  To overcome the next obstacle, we asked the elder sister to jump into the dental chair.  The little brother followed it with any problem (Fig.1).   Now we have the third difficulty.  What is that?

The boy does not speak English or Mandarin.  Luckily the sister was willing to translate for us.  Soft voice from the sister must have mesmerizing effect on the boy.  Our assistants are happy to work with them (Fig.2).  The first dental appointment is the least aggressive.  We use a colorful baby toothbrush to do cleaning.  Probably in one or two more appointments, we could use spinning instrument to do regular cleaning.  This boy is going to be a really good patient.  Most likely his oral health should be excellent all thorough his life.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 11/22/2012, last revision 11/22/2012